Political analyst Loke Hoe Yeong has asserted that he believes any opposition alliance “would not work if it does not involve the Workers’ Party,” in a recent interview. Speaking to Yahoo Singapore, the London-based Singaporean said:
“Any opposition alliance can only be workable and meaningful if it involves the parties in parliament…if not, it’s pretty much an alliance of losers. I can only imagine that it would not work if it does not involve the Workers’ Party.”
Mr Loke, a former Singapore People’s Party (SPP) member, recently launched a new book entitled ‘The First Wave: JBJ, Chiam And The Opposition In Singapore’ which is winning rave reviews in Singapore.
Mr Loke also authored veteran opposition leader Chiam See Tong’s biography ‘Let The People Have Him: Chiam See Tong, The Early Years’, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize in the non-fiction category.
Speaking to Yahoo, Mr Loke also said that Mr Chiam – who is expected to step down as SPP secretary-general next month – will go down in history for changing the face of the opposition in Singapore. He said:
“The opposition used to be undesirable and unelectable, and Chiam has made it more acceptable to Singaporeans. He really revamped the whole opposition’s image and brought in credible candidates. His contribution surpasses JBJ’s, in terms of changing the opposition’s image.”
Mr Loke examined criticism that Mr Chiam ran his party like a dictatorship in his new book. Noting that both J.B. Jeyaretnam and the ruling party were accused of being authoritarian, he said:
“We should not be woolly-eyed, because to build democracy, you also need very strong parties. Discipline and structure are needed, and that’s not always going to be popular with everyone.
“This is in order to make in-roads into parliament. The party is there to advance its views and manifesto for the country. They are not social clubs, so you need a fighting force.”
On former ruling party parliamentarian Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s new opposition party, the Progress Singapore Party, Mr Loke said: “What sets apart this party is that it’s led by a so-called renegade PAP member, the first time this has happened in Singapore’s history.”
Noting that the Lee family feud could also impact developments in the next election, Mr Loke said: “That could be a double-edged sword. Will Lee Hsien Yang actually join the PSP and contest against the party of his father?” -/TISG